Survey Finds More Information Needed as Country Prepares to Vote

Only 15 percent of Cambodians can name the National Election Committee (NEC) and 85 percent of people believe that political parties should publicly disclose their campaign finances, according to the results of a survey commissioned by Washington-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

The survey, which was conducted in April and May and released on Friday, is based on interviews with 1,752 people of voting age, and 10 focus groups in five provinces.

Survey findings indicate Cambod­i­ans are interested in the election process but report moderate levels of information on the process overall,” IFES said in a statement. “Data also shows Cambodians feel informed on certain aspects of the elections, although a significant portion express the need for more information.”

The survey shows that this is partly due to the fact that only a small number of people are actually aware of what the NEC is and what it does.

“Only 15 percent of Cambodians are able to name the organization in charge of running the elections. Focus group findings reiterate this low awareness of the NEC.”

The survey found that there was an increase in the past year of the number of people who want political parties to disclose financial information.

“Cambodians also express strong support for public disclosure of campaign contributions in higher percentages than in the 2012 IFES survey,” it said, noting that the number rose from 73 percent last year to 85 percent this year.

Last month, the CPP was one of three political parties notably absent from a signing ceremony at which representatives pledged that their parties would voluntarily disclose the sources and amounts of funds raised for the elections.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said he had heard of the report but had not seen it.

“For awareness, we organize two big elections every five years. Last year, we had more than 110,000 election officials who were local people. And for this year’s national election, we have employed more than 120,000 election officials across the country. So these officials have [to] disseminate awareness [of the NEC] a lot to Cambodians,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Kuch Naren)

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